My son John was the first person I heard use the phrase, “Cool Kids.” He was serving on the Student Ministry staff of our church and would use the term to describe a certain group of students that would frequently isolate themselves from the rest of the students.
They were an exclusive group that moved as a herd, and no one could move in to it. They were a relatively small number, and they liked it that way. When it came to welcoming outsiders, let’s just say the “cool kids” weren’t into it. The rest of the students were often discouraged because of their experience with this group and the staff was constantly trying to help the cool kids see this problem.
Worship Teams can easily be the same way. In many settings, the worship leaders can become isolated and easily retreat into our own eco system. Think about it – we have our own language, our own dedicated spaces, our own schedule, and our own relationships. Inside our world, some still feel like they are in high school band and are still fighting to keep first chair – in a friendly sort of way. A new person can be a threat to our chair the way a new student in the high school band could be seen as someone trying to get our spot.
Outside the music suite, relationships can be optional. We don’t know anyone else because we don’t need to. Our entire experience at church is wrapped up in what we are doing in the worship ministry. Sometimes we don’t even realize that the rest of the church feels insignificant to the worship leaders, just because of how we carry ourselves. We have insider access to the pastor, the staff, and the major events of the calendar. We are the “cool kids.”
We have become the “cool kids” if…
… we care more about preserving than reaching.
… we use “insider language” around other people in the church.
… we don’t integrate with the rest of the church in small groups, mission trips, ministry opportunities.
… we limit our involvement in church to the activities only associated with the worship ministry.
If you want to resist this, try a few of these ideas –
… instead of chilling by the coffee in between the sound check and the service start, hang out in the foyer and greet people as they arrive.
… be active in a small group bible study.
… set the goal to participate in at least one mission event of the church each year, including an international mission event once every five years.
… be diligent to embrace new people – in the church and in the worship ministry.
For the sake of the church and the furtherance of the Gospel, don’t let your worship team become the “cool kids.” That dynamic will be toxic to the effectiveness of the worship ministry in your church.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.